FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison

NEW YORK (AP) — Crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Roast was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of thousands of customers that emerged with the collapse of FTX, once one of the world's most popular platforms for exchanging digital currency.

Although he described Bankman-Fried as “very intelligent,” U.S. District Judge Louis A. Kaplan offered a blistering analysis of Bankman-Fried and his crimes, before which he received less than half the sentence prosecutors sought and a quarter of the 105 years he served. Referred by court hearing officers.

“There's no question that Mr. Bankman-Fried's name is in the mud around the world right now,” Kaplan said of the 32-year-old California man, who appeared in the cryptocurrency universe before his businesses collapsed and exited in November 2022. Customers, investors and creditors are short more than $11 billion, which the judge ordered him to forfeit.

He Convicted in November Fraud and Conspiracy – A dramatic fallout from success that includes a Super Bowl ad, testimony before Congress and celebrity endorsements from stars like quarterback Tom Brady, basketball point guard Stephen Curry and comedian Larry David.

Kaplan imposed the sentence in the same Manhattan courtroom where, four months earlier, Bankman-Fried testified that she intended to revolutionize the burgeoning cryptocurrency market with her innovative and altruistic ideas, not theft.

The judge said Bankman-Fried repeatedly committed perjury in the witness's testimony with “often evasive, hair-splitting, deceptive questions.”

Kaplan said the sentence reflects the danger that Bankman-Fried “will be in a position to do something very bad in the future.” And this is no small risk. He added that the sentence was designed to “incapacitate him to the extent that he can do it properly for a significant period of time”.

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Kaplan said he advised the Federal Bureau of Prisons to send Bankman-Fried to a medium-security prison near San Francisco because his fame, his connections to vast wealth, his autism and his social awkwardness make him particularly vulnerable. – Safety facility.

Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Rouse had suggested A prison sentence 40 to 50 years, he said, is the only way to ensure “the defendant won't do it again.”

Prosecutors said tens of thousands of people and companies worldwide have lost billions of dollars since 2017 as Bankman-Fried FTX looted client accounts promising millions of dollars in illegal political donations, bribes to Chinese officials, lavish investments and luxury goods. They have an estate in the Caribbean and live in luxury.

Kaplan agreed with attorneys Thursday that Bankman-Fried should not be credited because some investors and customers may get some money back. He noted that customers lost about $8 billion, investors lost $1.7 billion and lenders lost $1.3 billion.

As she spoke, Bankman-Fried stood and apologized in an emotional statement: “A lot of people feel very let down. And they were very disappointed. I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry for what happened at every stage.”

He added, “My useful life is probably over. It's been some time now since before I was arrested.

Dressed in a khaki prison uniform and shackled at the ankles, Bankman-Fried appeared briefly emotional as she spoke for about 20 minutes, though she expressed regret for “a lot of mistakes” but placed some of the blame on others. Her trademark messy and bushy hair is back from the trimmer look she sported at the trial.

He praised some of his former executives and workmates: “They threw themselves into it, and then I threw it all in. It haunts me every day.

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Kaplan later criticized Bankman-Fried's comments, saying she had “never expressed remorse for committing the horrific crimes”.

Looking at his blindfolded client, defense attorney Mark Mugesi said it was wrong to portray the Massachusetts Tech graduate as “an arrogant, greedy fraudster who wanted to get away with robbing hard-working people of their money.” .

“Sam was not a ruthless financial serial killer who set out every morning to hurt people,” Mugesi said in court documents, insisting that any prison sentence be in the single digits. “Sam Bankman-Fried does not make decisions with malice in his heart. He does the math in his head and makes decisions.

The judge later criticized Bankman-Fried's calculations, saying she was actually “a math nerd, looking at results based on math, expected value.”

She cited trial testimony from Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend and fellow executive, Caroline Ellison, who once told her that Bankman-Fried's willingness to embrace risk would make the world happy if a coin came up tails. Destroyed – If it comes to a head, the world will be twice as good.

Judge said Bankman-Fried applied risk-taking to his companies, “making bets on expected value” and weighing the risk of getting stuck with the probability of large gains.

“That's the game,” Kaplan said. “That's his nature.”

Bankman-Fried's lawyers, friends and family Emphasized gentleness, said he was unlikely to reoffend. They also claimed that FTX's investors had largely recovered their funds — claims denied by bankruptcy attorneys, FTX and its creditors.

“Mr. Bankman-Fried continues to live a life of delusion,” wrote John Ray, CEO of FTX, which is cleaning up the bankrupt company. “The 'business' he leaves behind on November 11, 2022 is neither solvent nor safe.”

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An FTX client, Sunil Gowri, who spoke during the sentencing, said he had traveled from London on behalf of more than 200 victims who had sent impact statements to the judge.

He said he spoke to “victims like me who had their dreams destroyed” and lived “the FTX nightmare every day, every day, every night for the last two years, lots of crying, sleepless nights.”

Bankman-Fried's parents, both Stanford law school professors, did not speak as they left the courtroom Thursday, but later issued a statement saying: “We are heartbroken and will continue to fight for our son.”

Bankman-Fried, of Palo Alto, California, is worth billions of dollars on paper as the co-founder and CEO of FTX, once the world's second-largest cryptocurrency exchange.

FTX allows investors to buy dozens of virtual currencies, from Bitcoin to obscure ones like Shiba Inu Coin. With billions of dollars in investor money, Bankman-Fried bought the naming rights to an arena in Miami, taking out a Super Bowl ad to promote his business.

But still Cryptocurrency price crash 2022 took its toll on FTX, eventually leading to its downfall. FTX's hedge fund subsidiary, Alameda Research, bought billions of dollars of various crypto investments that lost significant amounts of value in 2022. Bankman-Fried sought to plug holes in Alameda's balance sheet with FTX client funds.

Three members of Bankman-Fried's inner circle pleaded guilty to related crimes and testified at her trial.

In addition to Ellison, two of Bankman-Fried's one-time friends — Gary Wang and Nishad Singh — testified that they felt directed by Bankman-Fried to commit fraud.

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